AFC Group 5



Iran returned to the global stage after not participating in the 1982 or 1986 World Cup qualifiers due to the Iran-Iraq war (1980–1988). Team Melli would however hope to resume where they left off, having appeared in the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, which resulted in two losses and a credible draw against Scotland. Parviz Dehdari had been appointed new national coach in 1986, and immediately brought some success with a 3rd place in the 1988 edition of the AFC Asian Cup.

With only one team progressing from group 5 to the Final Round, Iran were however facing tough competition from China – incidentally the team they had beaten in the 3rd place play-off of the 1988 AFC Asian Cup. China had yet to qualify for any World Cup finals, and most recently experienced a major setup when they failed to progress to the final round of the 1986 qualifiers after a loss to Hong Kong. Much more was expected this time around, and results under manager Gao Fengwen (1986– ) in the 1988 AFC Asian Cup suggested that China were a serious contender for one of two AFC berths in Italia’90. 

Very little to suggest, however, that the two other teams in group 5 could pose any threat to these two powerhouses. Both Bangladesh and Thailand were perennially struggling to assert themselves in both World Cup and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.


Match 1
19.02.89: Thailand 1-0 Bangladesh
Suphachalasai Stadium, Bangkok

Match 2
23.02.89: China 2-0 Bangladesh
Tianhe Stadium, Guangzhou

Match 3
23.02.89: Thailand 0-3 Iran
Suphachalasai Stadium, Bangkok

Match 4
27.02.89: Bangladesh 1-2 Iran
Bangabandhu Stadium, Dhaka

Match 5
28.02.89: Thailand 0-3 China
Suphachalasai Stadium, Bangkok

Match 6
04.03.89: Bangladesh 0-2 China
Bangabandhu Stadium, Dhaka

Match 7
08.03.89: Bangladesh 3-1 Thailand
Bangabandhu Stadium, Dhaka

Match 8 
17.03.89: Iran 1-0 Bangladesh
Azadi Stadium, Tehran

Match 9
30.05.89: Iran 3-0 Thailand
Azadi Stadium, Tehran

Match 10
15.07.89: China 2-0 Iran
Tiexi New District Centre, Shenyang

Match 11
22.07.89: Iran 3-2 China
Azadi Stadium, Tehran

Match 12
29.07.89: China 2-0 Thailand
Tiexi New District Centre, Shenyang

Final table